Buying resale bags online is terrifying. I’ve been there, done that more than a dozen times, and sending a thousand dollars or more to a stranger in exchange for a bag which I have not yet seen in person does not get any less nerve-racking after repeated attempts. In fact, I’m feeling a bit of residual anxiety just thinking about it.

If you’re thinking about taking the eBay or Bonanzle plunge for the first time in search of your one true bag love, the number of hurdles that stand in the way of a successful purchase can seem daunting. Let my past experiences be your guide – we’ve got five ways to get yourself started on the path toward resale shopping success.

1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is the first and most important rule of online resale shopping. An Hermes Birkin for $100? Don’t do it, honey. The seller has a dozen Balenciaga bags, all in the same hard-to-find 2005 color, listed at the same time? Run the other way. If you find your dream bag on eBay or Bonanzle and it’s going for a fraction of the original price, it’s probably fake. If you’ve got a bag in mind, look up old transactions and find out how much the real thing goes for when resold or consult the Online Deals threads in PurseForum’s brand sections for links to authentic bags that our members have found.

2. Know your payment options. PayPal, Western Union, Google Checkout, bank transfer, mailed check…which ones are safe? Are any of them safe? Never do a bank or wire transfer or mail a check unless you can trust the seller with your life (and really, even then, don’t). PayPal and Google Checkout have more safeguards in the event that your bag is damaged or fake, but no system is foolproof. Using a credit card with a liberal chargeback policy (I’d suggest American Express) through a third-party transaction partner like PayPal is probably your safest option (and the only one that is technically allowed on eBay), but make sure to read the terms and conditions of any service or credit source before you spend your money.

3. Educate yourself and consult the experts. Our PurseForum is great, and I’m not just saying that as a veteran member and moderator. The people that post over there are an absolute wealth of information about bags present and past, and most sections also have a very dedicated, knowledgeable group of volunteer authenticators that will give you their opinions on resale bags that may have caught your eye. Remember, though, they’re just opinions.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. After you’ve learned about the bag and what best indicates authenticity, make sure you get any necessary pictures that weren’t already included in the seller’s listing. If he or she expects you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a bag, you have every right to every last photo that you want in order to assure yourself that you’re getting what you think you are. If the seller hems and haws about providing additional photos or information, it might be a good idea to walk away. Which leads us to…

5. Listen to your gut. If something seems off about the bag or the seller, don’t ignore it. Even if you can’t but your finger on exactly what’s wrong, that suspicion is likely there for a reason. Another must-have purse will always come along; don’t risk your hard-earned dollars on a purchase that might come with some, uh, baggage.


P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • mochababe73

    I have been shopping at eBay for years. Unfortunately, I have chose a career that I love (teaching) over one that makes enough money for me to be able to afford my champagne tastes. Couple with the fact that I pay everything in cash (unlike some housewives that I know) and haven’t had a credit card in 14 years, I am constantly on the look out for bargains.
    I have been burned only one time via eBay. As a novice, I accidentally ordered something from China. That should have been added to the list. Most of the stuff is fake, and my handbag fell apart the first day that I used it. That goes for anything from Asia. I’ve heard horror stories about buying from Asian nations. Even sunglasses are not safe. Having your retinas burn because the coating on the lenses was on the inside instead of the outside is no fun either.
    It’s funny that my co-workers think that my hubby has a great paying job (which he doesn’t) because I have an expensive handbag collection. Little do they know. Bwah, ha, ha, ha!

    • ingrid

      mochababe73, i think it’s wrong to condemn every last seller in the continent of Asia. yes, the counterfeit trade there is booming, but you can’t group everyone together for a single unfortunate experience you had with something from china. japan is known to be one of the biggest markets for luxury goods, so please don’t make general statements before getting your facts straight.

  • Loquita

    Thanks for the much-needed service that you have performed with this post, Amanda! I am a long-time *bay user (who far prefers Bonanzle, by the way) and your advice is excellent. Like mochababe73, I have a job that I love but that doesn’t always pay for my taste, and since I pay for everything in cash as well auction sites are a must. I have yet to be burned, but as a seller/buyer I have dealt with a few very unpleasant individuals – that said, I figure that learning how to deal with others in a professional manner (even if they don’t treat me as such) is part of everyday life, whether you are selling/buying online or not. The only thing that I would add to your wonderful list is the need to INSIST on secure shipping – don’t expect to get something for nothing. If your item does not arrive – or arrives damaged – you will only be able receive a refund if you follow proper procedures and pay a bit extra for insurance and tracking, etc. Trust me. It is the only way to protect yourself as a buyer *or* a seller. That extra few dollars in insurance is a very wise investment.

  • smoocherooch

    This photo is from Malaysia. hhaha
    Anyway, thanks for the tip! Buying things online – always uncertainties =) However, it is tempting at the same time because the price is so attractive.

    • takeabite

      yeah! kuala lumpur convention centre to be exact! :) agreed with ingrid tho

  • I Tso

    I have used ebay to some extent, and I have always had a positive experience. When i ask if the item is authentic, the sellers are always honest with me. But it is important to know what is real and what is fake, so you know what your getting is real and getting your moneys worth.

  • Marcia

    About 8 yrs ago I bought a beautiful classic black Jumbo Chanel bag on ebay. I asked lots of questions about where she bought the bag etc. I paid less than $500 for it and it’s authentic. She had the authentic cards, a box and a dust bag. It was a great buy.

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  • Bagolicious

    To condemn a whole continent because of a bag mishap is beyond ridiculous. I have been a long term vacationer to Asia, once or twice a year for well over a decade. I even rent the same apartment while there, so I’m not a tourist.

    I shop big time in the Asian country that I reside in and also in the other Asian countries that I travel to to shop. I have gotten numerous high quality products throughout S.E. Asia, several being my top of the line alligator species handbags and many other non alligator items that have “never” fallen apart on me. And I’ve gotten them for far less than what the west is egregiously overcharging for the same types of items.

    And yes, there are copies throughout Asia, but I’ve seen copies on lots of other continents and I’ve been on all of them, many times around, since the 70s. So, it’s about being an informed and smart shopper.

  • BeautifulBasics

    Thank you so much for writing this article and providing such wonderful tips when shopping on eBay. You can find the wonderful authentic handbags on eBay at great prices! As the post mentioned, when in doubt about authenticity have it confirmed as authentic or not within The Purse Forum. The ladies and gents have the an enormous amount of knowledge and are always so helpful. Good luck to all when shopping on eBay!



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  • Garage Fairy

    This is a good awareness for shoppers especially for the ladies who are mad about designer bags. Because some of the auction/buy and sell sites – do not have a buyer protection that would cover the buyer for any complain. At Garage Fairy Online Consignment we make sure that every designer item has a receipt or a prrof of authenticity.